The upturn in the Newcastle United’s fortune started after Alan Pardew ditched the modern and sometimes fanciful formations and went with what some would call an English formation in 4-4-2.
Since then both strikers regularly selected to play have done really well, especially the much maligned Shola Ameobi. The Geordie hero has performed his role of a battering ram really well allowing other players in and around him to flourish and has helped out at the back with the defending on set pieces as well.
Ameobi is contracted to the North-East till the summer of 2014 after which he becomes a free agent. The question is should the magpies give their longest serving player a new contract.
Since making his debut for Newcastle against Chelsea in September 2000, Ameobi has gone on to make 377 appearances in all competitions scoring 77 goals. In fact, in the Premier League he has scored only 41 goals in 275 games which is a ratio of close to one goal in 7 matches.
One stat that is in his favor is the fact that 128 out of his 275 league appearances have been as a substitute. In addition to his relative lack of success at scoring goals he has only assisted in 27 goals in all competitions.
I personally would not give him a new contract based on the simple reason that for a striker he does not score enough goals. Also, over last few years, the Newcastle team has not been blessed with goal-scoring midfielders and has relied on strikers getting the majority of the goals. Shola has also been injury prone in the last few seasons and ever since Newcastle’s promotion to the Premier league, he has started only 39 out of 127 matches.
Having said that, I can see Alan Pardew pushing for a new contract for a player who he has previously described as his favorite amongst the Magpies’ playing squad.
It’s also worth thinking about what’s better for Shola. He has been at the club for 14 years and averages just 22 games per season. If Newcastle continue to progress as they have been, it is unlikely (hopefully) that the club will settle for the current depleted attacking resources.
Although I don’t see any harm in giving out a new one year rolling contract I do feel it would be a short term solution and a better, younger and maybe a cheaper solution can be easily found.
What do you think? Should Newcastle offer the icon a new deal? Or would he be better off at another club where he’d be able to get more playing time?